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Short schedule

 Monday, February 7th   
 13.00-13.45  Registration
 13.45-14.00  Conference opening 
 14.00-15.00  Keynote talk: Paola Pietrandrea (University of Lille) 
 15.00-15.30  Coffee break
 15.30-17.30  Parallel session 1
   Parallel session 2
 18.00-19.15  Yoga
 Tuesday, February 8th  
 09.00-10.00  Keynote talk: Ilana Mushin (The University of Queensland) 
 10.00-10.30  Coffee break
 10.30-12.30  Parallel session 1
   Parallel session 2
 12.30-13.30  Lunch
 13.30-15.30  Parallel session 1
   Parallel session 2
 15.30-16.00  Coffee break
 16.00-17.00  Keynote talk: Jérôme Jacquin (University of Lausanne)
 17.30-19.00  Guided tour
 20.00  Conference dinner
 Wednesday, February 9th   
 09.00-10.00  Keynote talk: Lorenza Mondada (University of Basel)
 10.00-10.30  Coffee break
 10.30-12.30  Parallel session 1
   Parallel session 2
 12.30-13.00  Conference closing
 13.00  Lunch


Invited speakers

Jérôme Jacquin

Université de Lausanne, CH

French evidential markers in talk-in-interaction. Diving into complexity, getting out of perplexity?

Evidential markers and – more generally – the linguistic domain of ‘epistemicity’ have been studied quite extensively in French Linguistics, but mostly from a semantic and/or syntactic perspective and by using either invented or decontextualized examples. Corpus studies remain scarce, they often focus on one or few markers, and most of the time they do not integrate pragmatic factors such as sequentiality (i.e. cotextual features), genericity (i.e. contextual features) and multimodality (i.e. polysemiotic features). The paper stems from an ongoing, 4-year research project whose goal is to study French epistemic and evidential markers as they emerge in a 28h video-recorded corpus documenting public debates, TV debates, and work meetings. After a short introduction to the main theoretical and methodological options adopted by the project to analyze – both quantitatively and qualitatively – a wide range of French epistemic/evidential markers, the paper provides a case study on 328 tokens of verbs and adverbs of appearance (verbs: sembler, paraître, avoir l’air, avoir l’impression et donner l’impression; adverbs: apparemment, évidemment, manifestement, visiblement). Quantitative analysis focuses on the general distribution of the verbs and adverbs by discourse genres, communicative roles, and sequential positioning; Multimodality – notably (shifts of) gaze direction and gestures associated with the markers – is also considered. Qualitatively, the paper examines the most frequent expressions in the corpus (e.g. il me semble (que) [it seems to me (that)]), by scrutinizing variations of meaning and functions related to sequential positioning (e.g. initiative versus reactive position) and types of scope (i.e. in terms of factuality). The paper concludes with some general remarks about the interest of combining qualitative and quantitative methods for the study of epistemic and evidential markers at the interface of semantics and pragmatics.

Lorenza Mondada

Universität Basel, CH

Knowledge, talk and body: from epistemics to sensoriality in social interaction

The talk discusses how different forms of knowledge are observable and made accountable in social interaction. From an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective, it reflects on how participants orient to the relevance of and the differences between propositional knowledge (knowing that), embodied knowledge and sensoriality. By studying interactional contexts in which the participants engage in producing and exchanging information about objects, in manipulating these objects and in sensing them, the paper explores how participants differentiate various sources of knowledge. The analyses show how epistemic access, primacy and authority are publicly displayed and addressed by the participants but also how the limitations of knowlege as information are pointed at by them. They also show how in some contexts - such as interactions around food - participants move from talking about objects to sensing them, treating sensoriality as a distinct form of access to materiality. On the basis of video-recorded activities involving food, such as interactions in gourmet shops and tasting sessions among amateurs and professionals, the study demonstrates how participants locally differentiate relevant sources of knowledge and orient to their distinct features.This paves the way for a reflection that articulates issues of knowledge, embodiment and sensoriality in social interaction.

Ilana Mushin

University of Queensland, AU

Interactional lessons for evidential typology

In this paper, I consider how taking an interactional approach to the study of epistemics enriches the study of evidential typology both methodologically and theoretically. Since the early 20th Century, the typological study of evidential systems has been primarily concerned with regularities in the mapping of evidential meanings – e.g. witnessed or first hand information, reported, inferred or second hand information - onto a paradigmatically arranged set of (usually) bound forms. On the other hand, pragmatic approaches to the status of knowledge have considered the contexts in which evidential expressions are used, and the ways in which particular stances are regularly adopted for particular discourse purposes.  Similarly, conversation analysts and interactional linguists have been concerned with the management of knowledge in interaction, noting that the design of converational turns is highly sensitive to what speakers and recipients actually know, and what they should know, and the deployment of epistemic stances for particular communicative purposes. On the surface these two approaches – the typological and the pragmatic – seem to operate on different foundational assumptions, with one concerned with the cross-linguistic comparison of grammatical systems, and the other concerned with what speakers are doing when they talk. However, I will suggest ways that these might be reconciled in order to develop a more substantive foundation for doing typological research, that includes explanations for the typological regularities we see in evidential systems across languages.


Paola Pietrandrea

Université de Lille, FR

Modal and beyond. A model for the annotation of modality in spoken dialogues and its applications

The talk describes a theoretical framework for modeling the epistemic and evidential constructions occurring in Italian spoken dialogues. Having assessed on spoken data the traditional notion of commitment used in the literature on epistemicity, I propose to revisit it within the framework of a dynamic, interactional, communitarian semantics. Having refined the functional definition of the domain, I will single out, through a corpus-driven methodology, the functional and formal properties that characterize epistemic and evidential constructions. On this ground, I will define an annotation scheme for epistemicity. I will apply such a scheme to a large sample of Italian dialogic spoken data. Based on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the annotated corpus, I will sketch out a new grammar of Italian dialogic epistemic and evidential constructions.

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  • Sport and cultural activities

    Sport and cultural activities are freely accessible to the conference participant and, in case, to his/her partner and family. You can register 1-2 additional persons, as long as places are available. 

    • Yoga: breathing as a way to attain meditative states    

    The teacher Paola Elia ( will propose a session of Yoga practice designed for all levels to mobilize the spine and reach a condition of deep self-awareness: a first step towards a state of concentration and meditation according to the Vipassana technique, which will sharpen your listening and observation skills.

    Comfortable clothing recommended; bring something warm to wear during the meditation.

    When: Monday, February 7th, 18.00-19.15. Where: Sports Hall, East Campus Lugano, Sector C, Floor -1.

    • Guided visit of the Centre Lugano Arte e Cultura (LAC) and of Santa Maria degli Angioli Church, situated on the Lugano lakeside. 

    Accompanied by a guide, you will visit the LAC, deepening the architectural particularities of the new Lugano cultural center and the context in which it is located. An unmissable opportunity to discover and imagine, through a path that winds between past and present, how the landscape could present itself hundreds of years ago. The visit offers a historical, artistic, architectural and urbanistic overview of the district in which the LAC is located and includes an itinerary through the public spaces of the cultural center (Hall, Agora, Park and, depending on availability, Theatre Hall) and the surrounding buildings (former Grand Hotel Palace, Cloister and Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli). After the visit, a five minute walk will take the group to the location of the conference dinner.

    ​When: Tuesday, February 8th, 18.00-19.15. Where: we will meet at LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, Piazza Bernardino Luini, 6.

  • Conference Meals

    The on-site registration fee covers coffee breaks and the lunches programmed on February 8th and 9th. Lunches are served in the USI canteen situated on the West Campus Lugano, according to the latest protection provisions. When moving around the canteen, the use of a face-mask is mandatory. A Take Away service is also available.

    A conference dinner is planned for Tuesday, February 8th (not included in the registration fee). Unless new Covid restrictions will be introduced, the conference dinner will take place at the restaurant Canvetto Luganese, which serves typical regional food. Participants who decide to come to Lugano with a partner / with family can register 1-2 additional persons for dinner, as long as places are available.

    To attend coffee breaks and meals a 2G Covid Certificate is required (see section "Covid certificate and travel restrictions" below).